Saturday, February 12, 2022

2022 South Davis Recreation Center Sweethearts 5K Race Recap - Bountiful, UT

Official Time: 24:10
Placement: 1st in the 50 - 54
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: low to mid 40's slight wind from the north
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2021] [2020] [2019] [2018] [2016] [2015] [2014] [2013]

Mile TimeComments
17:24Fast downhill start.  Felt good. Wish the whole race was like this.
27:58Okay, a bit of work going on a slight uphill.
38:15This mile is always the toughest. A grind uphill.
3.090:33Smash the final quarter mile.
Total Miles: 3.09- 24.10


So every year since 2013 I've done the South Davis Recreation Center (I missed out on the 2017 edition for some reason).  It is one of my favorite races and a good setup for the spring season.  The course is very consistent from year to year so you can see where your fitness is at.

Also, the race is pretty well organized and situated.  It is held at the Bountiful Recreation Center, so you have a place to keep warm, use clean toilets, etc.  Also, the race -- if you register in advance -- is affordable and you do get a lot for your money.

So it was pretty much a no-brainer decision for me to sign up for this race and make the trek north about 25 minutes to Bountiful.

The Race 

I rolled into the race's headquarters just after 8 AM.  The race, this year, was lightly attended, so it was an easy in and out as far as getting this year's t-shirt and swag bag.  I did about a mile warm-up and some dynamic drills and was ready to go.

After receiving some course instructions, the race started promptly at 9 AM and we were off.

If you've read my blog before, you know I've run this route many times.  They use the same course for their spring, summer and fall races.  It is an entirely residential run making a rectangle around the streets of Bountiful Utah.

It definitely isn't the most scenic course, but it is an honest course.  It starts off quickly with a fast decline (with about 70 feet of decline), and after about 1.25 miles, makes a right hand turn where you begin to pay for the fast first mile -- with 70 feet of incline.  The final push -- at about mile 2.25 to 2.75 is a hill where your dreams of a PR 5K are dashed as this is the steepest section.  Again, this course doesn't have a crushing hill where you are running 9+ minute miles, but it does take you down to 10K pace.

I don't remember a race on this course where I was cursing the final mile -- and I've done this course at least 20 times in my running career now.

I got off to a good start.  I was torn between going all out versus saving something for the final mile in hopes that I could beat Bountiful's Heartbreak Hill.  After initially getting hemmed in, I opted to push the pace -- but do it controlled.  

I passed a number of people on my way to a 7:24 mile.  Awesome!  But I knew that the hardest part of the course was coming up.

At this point, I think this course has gotten into my head.  I've run it too many times so maybe I play a script out.  Instead of telling myself "I am going to power up the hills" -- I tell myself "The hills are gonna hurt -- slow down".  And to some extent that is what I did.  

I passed the water station at the half way point and I could see the looming hill ahead.  It isn't a terrible hill -- a mere 70 feet of incline over the next 1.25 miles, but it is a slow grind.  

There weren't any runners behind me but I could slowly pick off a few of the runners ahead of me.  However, the latter half of the race I didn't really have anyone to work off of.  The runners who were ahead of me, were well ahead and there wasn't a soul behind me.

I occasionally got some cheering support though from well wishers who had stationed themselves in the final half mile (near the finish line), which definitely helped.

Having run the course many times before, I knew exactly what was coming and how much further I had to go.  It is a slight downhill (or so it seems) in the final stretch and even though no one was around me, I had a feeling I had a shot of going sub 24 minutes, so I redlined it as best as I could for the final push.

Could I crack 24 two weeks in a row?


So the short answer is no, but it was close.  I ran the exact same time as I ran on 2021 -- not too bad but not exactly what I was hoping for.  Once again, the hill got the best of me.

I felt good enough to shuffle back to the starting line (about a quarter mile) and grabbed my warm-up jacket that I had ditched behind a transformer.  The weather was pleasant for a February -- and I had run in a long-sleeved shirt, shorts and thin gloves. However, I knew I'd chill off pretty quickly.

Post-race refreshments

As usual, the race organizers outdid themselves with post race refreshments.  I had brought my own drink but I was able to grab some instant oatmeal, bananas, and a high-end donut, which I greedily ate.


I checked (and rechecked) the results, and I had won my age division.  I was really happy with that as they have Teddy Bears that they give out.  Larger ones for the first place winners and a bit smaller after that.  Over the years I've collected a few of these guys.  It's just a nice prize.  It did take a while before awards were handed out but it was worth the wait and the weather was pleasant.

Finishers Medal and Age Group Award and t-shirt

Overall, I paid about $28 for the race.  Quite a bargain (especially compared to last week's race).  I got a timed race, finisher's medal, a Valentine's Day t-shirt and an age group award.  South Davis continues to outdo themselves and that's why I keep going back.

I am pretty happy with my result. I would've been even happier had I smashed last year's time. I am just happy to have a solid result and the spring season continues to go off at a solid clip.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

2022 Run SLC 5K Race Recap - Salt Lake City, UT

Official Time: 23:50
Placement: 5th in the 50 - 54
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 22 degrees. Slight wind from the south.
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2021]

Mile TimeComments
17:33Solid start. I was shocked at the pace of this one.
27:43Still feeling pretty good. Felt like I was going slightly up hill here.
37:50Digging deep
3.100:43Sprint to the finish
Total Miles: 3.10- 23.50


So last year I ran the Run SLC (Salt Lake City) 5K.  It is the first race in a 3-part series that runs in the Salt Lake Area.  It is a pretty nice bargain to run the entire series, but due to conflicts, I am only able to do the 5K.

Last year the race was held at Liberty Park, a large park in the east-central part of the city.  This year, the race was back to its original setting -- the Salt Lake Running store -- about 2 miles south of the park in a quaint, older part of town near 700 east.

There weren't many races going on this weekend, so it was an easy choice to sign up for this one.  Plus I knew it would be competitive and a legitimate 5K that I could use to base future race predictions off of.  With some luck, I figured, maybe I could place in my age group.

The Race

The race started at 8 AM and I arrived at the race site just shy of 7:15.  It was a bit of an adventure finding a parking spot in the neighborhood around the store, but once I got my bearings, I found one.  I had picked up my bib the day before and so I managed to get in a very quick warm-up and get loosened up.

It was chilly but fortunately no wind.  I did a mile warm-up, some dynamic drills and deemed myself ready to go.  I ditched my warm-up sweats and jacket and opted for double shirt, shorts and a good set of gloves -- this turned into a winning combination.  The less clothes you can get away with -- particularly in a 5K, the better.

The race was gracious enough to do a staggered start (Covid precautions). There were over 600 runners at the event -- a good turnout for a 5K.  The race started promptly but I had the option of starting at any time up to 8:10.

So after most of the runners had taken off (a good 3 minutes), I stepped behind the line, took a deep breath and started off after the walkers.  Let the race begin!

So there was the initial sense of panic that I had started way too late and I would be hemmed in by throngs of walkers.  But this road race sported a wide road and to be honest, I don't remember being hemmed in much at all. I wasn't zig-zagging much either.  I just settled into a pace and worked on getting up to speed and navigated my way north towards Liberty Park..

Slowly I began to reel in walkers and runners alike.  To be honest, it felt empowering.  Instead of getting passed I was doing the passing.  It was a huge mental boost.

The course felt like I was slowly climbing on both the out and the back.  I am not sure why it felt that way and the amount of elevation gain I had was fairly minimal.  The course was a straight out and back along an older neighborhood road after a quick dash down a connector road.  I could smell people cooking breakfast in their houses and there were a few spectators along the street.  I could only wonder what these people thought as hundreds of runners sped up and down their street.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a 7:33 come up for my first mile.  Solid! I still felt pretty good.  

As I made my way north I kept peering into the distance to see how much further I had until the turn-around.  I hadn't ever run this part of the course but I think I recognized parts of it from the Salt Lake Half Marathon.  The lead back was already heading back to the store.  It was fascinating to see how much further I had to go and where they were at in their race.  I had settled in with a group that was more or less running my own pace.  However, I still was doing a large amount of passing.  Plenty of gas in the tank for me.

Just as expected, the turn-around was at 1.55 miles.  If I could only hold onto my pace for the back half.  I didn't really glance at my watch at any point during the race except the last mile but again, I was happy to hit a sub 8 minute mile for the next stretch.  

The last mile I was still running strong.  I kept looking for the I-80 underpass, where I had parked my car.  I know from there it was about a quarter mile to the finish line.  It looked so far in the distance and I kept glancing at my Garmin. Am I there yet?

As soon as I turned the corner and saw the 3 mile marker, I turned on the jets.  I still didn't know what my overall time was going to be, but I suspected I had a shot at a really good race.  I went all out, passing a few more stragglers and sped across the finish time.


So I was rewarded with a fantastic to me time of: 23:50.  I've been wanting to run sub 24 minutes (on a non downhill course) for a while now and I finally got my time.  This bodes well for a strong spring season.  And, the course was an honest 3.10 miles -- a real 5K according to my Garmin (and several other runners on Strava).

I was really chuffed with my time.  It felt rewarding to see a culmination of a lot of work come together on race day.

Overall, I finished 5th in my age group.  The first two people in my age group were sub 20 minutes.  Definitely a stacked field.

I had paid nearly $50 for the race -- about two weeks before the race. Definitely not one of the best bargains in town.  The series, if you register early enough, is a decent price (a little over $100 for a 5K / 10K and 15K).  I received a metallic mug / cup and a timed race.  There were pre and post race refreshments and the start line area was very festive.  I also imagine that closing down the race course to traffic was costly too.  But this race (like last year's) was expensive.

This race may go down as the race of the year for me (the year is still young though) but I felt really motivated by my performance.  This is also the second race where I've intentionally started last or behind everyone -- only to come away with a great race performance.  There may be something to this strategy.

I am looking forward to seeing what the next 5K brings as I slowly regain my 5K fitness!